Week 5 Run 3: Success!!: Just finished the... - Couch to 5K

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Week 5 Run 3: Success!!


Just finished the dread Week 5 Run 3... and, surprisingly enough, it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had expected. Looking at the plan, I had been trepidatious about this one for weeks -- well, since the beginning, actually. It's the first session with no walking and, more significantly, the biggest jump in individual run time. Nowhere else in the programme is there a jump that more than doubles your previous run time!

I wouldn't say that today's run was "easy", but it was much easier than I had anticipated. By the fifteen minute mark, I was definitely feeling it... but, actually, the last two minutes passed much more quickly than I would have reckoned. Best of all, by the end of the five minute cool-down walk, I was feeling fine. It's probably not all increased fitness -- I'm sure that I was running a bit too slowly -- but that's still quite a contrast to when I started Week One and would get home feeling knackered!

Anyway, with Run 5.3 behind me, I am happily looking forward to starting Week Six on Monday. Indeed, the five and eight minute runs are probably going to feel like a break after today! (Just kidding, as I'll try to use them as I assume they were intended -- to increase speed, rather than stamina)

Thank to all who offered advise and support in the "run-up" to today!

21 Replies

Well done Ironmatt,

It's funny I am just starting week 3 and am trying not to look forward in the weeks , just incase I get scared but your post was just so positive I'm am sure we will all get there.

Good luck with week 6

IronMattGraduate in reply to Jenatleisure

Thanks! I really enjoyed Week 3, for a couple of reasons. Even though it has the second largest jump in individual runtime (doubling 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes), the total running time is the same as Week 2, so it isn't too stressful. Even so, the walking breaks have dropped to the same time as the runs, which feels like an achievement. It's nice to realize that you're running for three times as long as you did in Week 1... and without nearly the same level of difficulty. I hope that you have fun with it!

As for Week 5? You're probably right not too look too far ahead yet. Focus on where you are now and just have faith that by the time you get to the dreaded Run 5.3, you will be ready for it. It's hard to believe in advance, I know. In fact, even this morning, as Laura was telling me that the five minute warm-up walk was over and it was time to begin... even then, I was having trouble believing that I could do it! But it is possible, and you will get there! Meanwhile, have fun with it!


Well done i did that run on Monday just gone and felt like you. Great feeling to have it done and dusted. I too thought w6 r1 would be dead easy, how wrong it seemed long hard and slow. I think that's why its in there as if you did another 20mins and failed you would feel really bad. Just done w6 r2 today and was a lot better not looking forward to Mon R3 which is 25mins, but Laura knows her stuff , even though on W5 R3 and she said 2 mins left and i kept going and thought she cant say 1 min as i felt i had run for longer and she didn't disappoint she said your done. It was throwing it down even hail stoning at one point but i was ecstatic so well done and have a good day

IronMattGraduate in reply to newstart1

Hi there, Newstart!

Thanks much -- and congrats to you, too!

I'm curious now: You say that Run 6.1 was still challenging, even after completing the dreaded twenty minute Run 5.3? Why is that? (This is more than just idle curiosity, as this will be my next run, on Monday) Glad to hear that todays Run 6.2 went more easily for you!

In a way, Run 5.3 is an anomaly, as the runs before and after that both have walking breaks. From Run 6.3 on, there is no more walking in the middle! So I guess you just hit a milestone, finishing your last run with walking breaks. Well done! I'm hoping to be there in a few days, myself -- fingers crossed!

Good luck with Run 6.3 and also with weeks 7, 8, and 9!


Well done, IronMatt! W5R3 is a major milestone, suddenly you're proving you can do a a sustained run.

For some reason nearly everybody struggles with W6R1- maybe after the effort and "Hey, I can do this" of the 20 minute run the return to intervals is a bit humdrum? Anyway, only 2 interval training sessions left and then you'll be onto the longer runs. Good luck! And I bet you're still smiling from your run!

IronMattGraduate in reply to Soozz

That's a bet you would win! ;-D

I am puzzled by the observation that most people struggle with Run 6.1 after making it past the big leap. I mean, Week 6 Run 1 is nearly the same as Week 5 Run 1. Odd! Do people try to go too fast after the big 5.3 achievement?

Guess I will see for myself what it is like on Monday. And, yes, I am definitely looking forward to the "mini-graduation" of finishing the interval training and moving on the the sessions of pure running!


Hi all posters. well done ! Just one observation. I don't think the return to intervals in W6 is to concentrate on speed instead of stamina. I think the whole programme is about stamina. I think W5R3 is quite clever. It shows you how far you have come. It teaches you that you can trust the programme and it removes a mental hurdle about running continuously for so long but with a perhaps comfort factor of a week back to intervals to follow. In reality the intervals are still building your stamina. You will be noticing I think that your recovery in the walks is quicker and probably that the pace of your walks is quicker. But you are still exercising in these walks and keeping up the heartrate. You are still working!

One tip which helped me and may help some is that I thought of the longer runs as going out and coming back, or going up hill and then down hill. Consequently when I had run for half the time mentally it was just a question of saying "Right I've got here. I'll just turn round and go back home". To me the second half was always easier in my mind.I guess it may be different if you use a treadmill.

Good luck to everyone. There's no question about the plan. It does work.

Dreading first run of week 5. I had no idea what it held, as I don't look into the weeks before i tackle them. Sounds scary to me to run for 20 minutes without any break at all!

IronMattGraduate in reply to Pearsey

It IS scary! You may be wise to not look ahead -- I had been trepidatious about Week 5 Run 3 for quite some time. In fact, even as I started it this morning, it was STILL scary.

Feels good to have it over and done with, though. It's the biggest leap in the programme. Now I feel that if I got this far, I can get the rest of the way.

Good luck to you with your own Week 5 (and beyond!)

Pearsey in reply to IronMatt

Thank you IronMatt. Will try my6 hardest to complete it tomorrow. Looks like it will be running in the rain :-)


Congratulations! Week 5 run 3 is more of a mental challenge as your body can do it from all the previous runs. Great going! Week 6, here you come!!!!

IronMattGraduate in reply to gdeann

Thanks!! I'm really excited now -- only two more sessions with walking intervals and then it's running all the way!


HIya Ironman

I think as said by musicman its all about building stamina. I have a big run tomorrow and then believe they are big from then on in. The thought still feels me with dread but my husband who is a runner assures me that the happy endorphins will kick and will not let me feel the pain that my poor body is going through. Its all in the mind, and i love having Laura in my ear, saying you are doing really well... So keep up the hard work and W6 r1 is doable, don't worry as you have done 20 mins.....

IronMattGraduate in reply to newstart1

Thanks! I guess you're doing Week 6 Run 3 tomorrow, yes? That means you are done with all the run/walk interval sessions -- congratulations!

I'll be going out tomorrow for Week 6 Run 1. I had figured it would be easy now, but all the warnings say otherwise. I'll learn from the experience of others and try not to push too fast during the run. Can't wait until Friday, when I am slated for Week 6 Run 3 and, like you, am just running from now on!

Best of luck tomorrow!!


Thanks I will let you know how i get on. It will be an after work run unfortunately however so was the W5 R3 so I have no excuse ..

I think there's more than a small amount of psychology in the approach to the course. The intervals build up slowly but each time they extend the previous don't seem as bad. I ran the 20 minutes today and when Laura said "5 minutes to go" I thought, well that's ok, I can do that. But as little as a couple of weeks ago 5 minutes seemed like a huge amount of running.

IronMattGraduate in reply to Chewy

Yes, absolutely! And congratulations to you on making it past the biggest jump forward!

I'm running Week 6, R1 in the morning. After finishing the twenty minutes on Saturday, I am really looking forward to it.

Well done chewy :-)

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